Talkin’ Cubs Live – Cubs vs. Mets – 07/26/06

Game One Hundred: Cubs (39-60) vs. Mets (59-41)
Game Time – 11:10am C.T. Comcast SportsNet, WGN Radio, XM Radio Channel 185
Location – Shea Stadium, New York

Mark Prior (0-4, 8.14) vs. John Maine (1-3, 3.12)

Brunch anyone? After two very impressive wins against the best team in the NL the Cubs will shoot for their second series sweep of the season. Mark Prior will take the hill today looking for his first victory of the season and his first win since September 10th of last year. Prior has not pitched well at all for the Cubs in his 5 starts this season, the one time dominating right-hander has yet to show the command that he has throughout his career. Not only would a win be great today for the Cubs but it would also be a huge lift to the organization to see Prior pitch close to his previous form.

Prior has had a rough year to say the least. After spending most of the season on the DL he has yet to pitch into the 7th inning and has left all but one of his starts in the middle of an inning. Last Friday against the Nationals he recorded only 1 out in the 4th inning and gave up 4 runs on 4 hits, walked 3 and struck out 2. Prior must locate his breaking ball early in order to build confidence in a pitch he has yet to throw on a regular basis this season.

The Cubs offense led by Aramis Ramirez has been doing their part in all but one game of the road trip. Ramirez is on fire having hit 7 home runs in the last 6 games. While the starting pitching has done just enough to win the first two games of the series, the offense has out hit and out slugged the best offense in the league. The Cubs must have their morning coffee and come out and put up a few early runs against the very impressive Mets’ rookie John Maine.

Maine is coming off a complete game shutout against the Astros last Friday night and the Cubs have struggled this season against pitchers they are not that familiar with. Maine pitched 1 inning against the Cubs on July 15th and did not surrender a run but did give up a walk and a hit. The right-hander will be making his 5th career start and in his previous 4 he has not given up more than 4 earned runs. Maine throws strikes and has a very impressive strikeout to walk ratio at nearly 3 to 1 (20-7), where it should be. The Cubs must continue to work the count and give the rookie every opportunity to pitch himself into trouble.

Only 62 games left after today and a sweep would be a great way to head back to Wrigley to start a 4-game series against the Cardinals and an 11-game homestand.

Let’s Talk Cubbies Baseball….

Quote of the Day

"Never discourage anyone who continually makes progress, no matter how slow." - Plato
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